A Gothic horror series set in a Victorian London populated by some of English literature’s most iconic villains and monsters, including Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein, Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Penny Dreadful is grippingly ghoulish. The first episode has barely begun before we’re wading through the grisly aftermath of a gory Jack-the-Ripper-like killing. But it’s classy stuff, too, with a former James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and a former Bond girl (Eva Green) among the star-studded cast, and Skyfall screenwriter John Logan as the series’ showrunner.
Taking its name from the nickname for the era’s lurid and sensational crime novelettes, the eight-part series follows American sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), who turns up in 1891 England as a member of a travelling Wild West show but gets drawn into the underground world of paranormal London after meeting troubled clairvoyant Vanessa Ives (Green) and joining forces with explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Dalton), who is searching for a daughter snatched by evil forces. Brace yourselves for a 10-episode second season coming up next year.
Certificate 18. Runtime 7 hours, 15 mins. Director JA Bayona, Coky Giedroyc, James Hawes, Dearbhla Walsh.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Paramount Home Media.